I was recently interviewed by Amanda (Amandaw Writes) Shivratten. You can see the original article on Amanda’s site.
1. Hi Savannah, welcome to Amanda Writes. Please tell readers a little about yourself.
Hi Amanda, Thank you for having me. I was born in Scotland. I emigrated to Australia 47 years ago and have been living in Melbourne, raising a family and working for an International Medical Company for the past 26 years. I have travelled a bit during my life, visited many countries, experienced different cultures and been exposed to a variety of languages and lifestyles. All of which have impacted me in some way, and bring life to my stories.
2. When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer and what inspired your first book?
I had a Managerial job where writing procedures and good clear written communication via email was a prerequisite. I had staff members who would send me their words to check and to correct on all sorts of documentation. So I have been writing for a while. I realized I wanted to be a fiction writer about 15 years ago, and at that time I was writing short stories and poetry, but only sharing with friends and family. I began to take my writing seriously about 3 years ago when I joined the Melbourne Romance Writers Guild. I didn’t understand some basic rules about the craft of writing Romance. It was a steep learning curve for me. My stories were all “tell” and not “show”. I head hopped about like a mad woman. Looking back now, I can see it, but at the time, I just wanted to tell an interesting story. I was driven to get my words on paper to share with anyone interested. Watching the smile light up their faces as they read my stories was my reward. My drug of choice. My happiness grew exponentially with each reader’s appreciation, and request for more.
3. Plotter or panster?
I am a pantser.
4. What is the title of your new release and can you talk briefly about it?
My Book is called “From Paris to Forever”. It is a story about a young woman who has been living and working in Paris as a dancer at the Lido. She has a devastating fall and can no longer dance professionally. She returns to Melbourne to be with her widowed father, who is dying. When he passes away she decided to renovate the family home. This proves to be something she is good at, and surprisingly something she enjoys. In doing so she begins to rebuild a life for herself outside of dance.
My Hero is a Real Estate entrepreneur who wants to buy her property, and redevelop it to make some serious cash. He tries unsuccessfully to talk her into selling. He is determined to win her over. In the process he falls in love, for the first time in his life. However he is in total denial.
5. Tell readers a little about your hero and heroine in this story.
Chloe Armstrong is an educated, independent, caring young woman, who will not be pushed or swayed into making any decision. She has made that fatal mistake once before. However, she is lonely, and allows Todd to initiate a friendship. He is charming and proves to be a thoughtful, considerate friend. However she is no push over, is not in the market for love, and he soon discovers that.
Todd Baker is a self made man, with money and style, and does not accept no for an answer. He wants her property and sets out to get it, one way or another. Work has been his life, his mistress and making money his reward. Due to the car accident which claimed the life of both his parents while he was a young man, he has had to be the strong one for his brother and sister. The Patriarch of the family. He appears tough, but has a softer side he does not allow many to see. He has never been in love before. Until he meets Chloe.
6. What message do you anticipate readers to draw from this story?
I want them to understand and appreciate that love can move mountains. To look into the hearts of the people you love and see them and appreciate them as they really are. Sometimes the tough exterior has come about almost as a protective shell.
7. What’s the most fascinating thing a reader has said to you regarding your books?
I have been told that readers can step into my stories very easily. They can “see” what I see. Which is very rewarding to me. They tell me they cannot wait for the movie to come out.
8. What kind of reader are you? Print or e-book?
Both. I have a huge collection of print books, I love books. The look of them, the smell of them. However there is only so much room in my home. Now I have a huge collection of eBooks too. I love the versatility of eBooks. I can read anywhere now. If I have my phone with me, I have a book at the ready.
9. What book is on top of your TBR pile?
Beside my bed I have Natasha Lester’s book “A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald”
In my Kindle I am just about to start reading Eden Summer’s book “Rush Of Insanity”
I usually read more than one at a time.
10. How long does it take you to write the first draft of a story?
I can write a 3,000 to 6,000 word short story very quickly, in a couple of days. Books however take longer, about six months, but in stages. I write a pretty clean draft (as opposed to a dirty draft). I cannot stand all those red lines under spelling mistakes. They distract me. I have to clean it up along the way. I have only just retired from full time employment. It has taken a lot longer than I would like to go through the editing process with this book. Due to work commitments, editing, and illness and travel etc, it has taken two years to come to fruition. That is too long in my opinion, and not a process I want to repeat
11. Have you ever been stuck with writer’s block? If yes, how do you deal with it?
Yes I have had writers block. I try to fill the well at those times. I read, I go out and see a movie, or I catch up with friends. I tried to have life experiences to stimulate the joy of writing again. Sometimes you just get tired. Sometimes you have to walk away for a wee while. Smell the roses, and drink the wine. Stop beating yourself up. Enjoy life again.
12. What are you currently working on?
I am working on 3 books now. The Class Reunion, Georgia On My Mind, and Patrick’s Story (working title only) The second book after “From Paris To Forever”.
I have decided only this week, to concentrate on finalizing “The Class Reunion” by August, as I want to pitch this book at the Romance Writers Conference, in Brisbane, Australia.
13. Any advice for aspiring writers?
If you have an idea for a story in your head write it down. Get the words on paper or in the computer and build it. Don’t worry about it being right or wrong. Or fitting into anyone’s idea of how the story should be. Once the words are down you can work on creating something beautiful. Learn all you can about craft to build the story. Don’t show your sister/brother/family members your writing as you go along, unless you want the naysayers to crumble your fragile writers’ ego. Find your tribe. Find other authors, a group of like-minded people who will nurture your love of writing, who will guide you towards publication. Even then, your fragile ego will be sorely tested. The little voice inside your head that says you are never good enough is always present. You must over-ride that voice with the one that yells joyously “Give it a go. You will never know unless you try.”